In 1296, Florence started building a church that included designs for a massive never-been-done-before dome. They actually started the church not knowing how to build the dome structure. It was either going to be an impressive achievement or a very embarrassing mistake.
For decades, people tried to design a solution for building the dome structure but all of them were either too risky, too expensive, or not feasible. In 1418, architects flocked from around the world in response to a competition. Many very different solutions were presented but the winning design turned out to be from a goldsmith with no architect experience whatsoever. LESSON: Innovative solutions can come from unlikely places!
While reading about his success, I’ve identified some attributes that inspire me:
- Dedication. It took very many years to complete the project which seemed impossible.
- Courage. If his design didn’t work, the city’s reputation would suffer and he would face a lifetime of troubles.
- Persistence. Overseers, competitors, and critics called him a “miserable and imbecile beast” and even put him in jail.
- Leverage. Without visiting Rome and leveraging from their designs, he might not have come up with his own.
- Teamwork. A lot of man hours went into the construction which required careful coordination and a common goal.
- Trust. The city and the workers had to trust his innovative design; the workers literally had to trust him with their lives.
- Precision. He oversaw the production of even the bricks and had to constantly test the lines to ensure the curves would meet at the top.
- Patience. A lot of challenges and distractions arose during development but this did not deter the construction.
- Vision. Without a detailed vision, Brunelleschi would not have been able to communicate it, defend it, and measure success.
- Creativity. His design was radical and out-of-the-box – exactly where brilliant ideas tend to come from.
Reading about his courage and persistence, especially, inspires me to consider and dream about what it would be like to take on such a large and high-profile project. What an incredible opportunity to build something beautiful. And what great joy there can be in hard work. Sure, it will mean having to receive harsh words of criticism, but that’s just part of the refining process.